Sizzling Swede Chopra takes early control at Pebble Beach


(Reuters) - Red-hot Swede Daniel Chopra birdied six of his first seven holes to charge into an early two-stroke lead in the rain-delayed opening round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Thursday.

Chopra picked up shots at the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th after setting off on the back nine at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, one of three venues being used for this week's PGA Tour event.

The 40-year-old, a double winner on the PGA Tour who has missed the cut in his first three starts on the circuit this season, then parred the 17th and 18th to reach the turn in six-under 31.

That left Chopra two ahead of Australian world number 10 Jason Day and Americans Dustin Johnson and Robert Streb. Day, also playing at Monterey Peninsula, had completed nine holes while Johnson had finished 11 and Streb nine.

Long-hitting Johnson, Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion in 2009 and 2010, played Spyglass Hill and Streb the hosting Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Tournament favorite and four-times winner Phil Mickelson was one under after four holes on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula.

Thursday's opening round was certain to spill over into Friday after heavy rain on the picturesque Monterey Peninsula had forced play to be suspended for just under three hours earlier in the day.

With puddles of water forming on many of the greens, the action was halted after just 39 minutes of play before resuming at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time (2.30 p.m. ET).

Because of the forecast for poor weather, officials had already implemented 'lift, clean and place' for the players during the first round.

Conditions on Friday are expected to be better with just a 20 percent chance of showers but more rain has been forecast for both Saturday and Sunday.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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